Cleistesiopsis bifaria (Fernald) Pansarin & F. Barros

Small Spreading Pogonia

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Cleistes bifaria

Cleistesiopsis bifaria, commonly called Small Spreading Pogonia, is found in the mountains of southeastern United States from Virginia south to Georgia. It produces one or two rose-pink or white flowers with purple or pink venation on the labellum. The petals and labellum separate only near the apex, resulting in the flower's distinctive tube-like shape. The flower bract length is similar or longer than the sepal length. It grows primarily in savannas, wet meadows, and pine or oak woodlands. This orchid benefits from prescribed fires that result in fewer over-story trees and shrubs.

Cleistesiopsis bifaria is considered apparently secure, but in its northern range (Virginia and West Virginia), it may be rare.


Bees, such as Bombus fervidus, Bombus pensylvanicus and Bombus vagans are attracted to the bright yellow crest on the labellum which mimics pollen. As it enters the flower, a sticky fluid is smeared on the bee’s head and thorax. When it backs out of the flower, granular pollen sticks to this fluid and can be transferred to the stigma of the next flower the bee visits. While the bees may be lured to the flower by deceit, pollen may be actively harvested and transferred from flower to flower and also brought back to the hive.

Ecosystem Type

Floodplains, forests, grassland, meadows, woodlands


Leaf arrangement:
Number of leaves on stem:
  • one
  • two
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is lobed
Main color of labellum:
  • pink to red
  • white
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence has one flower or a pair of flowers
Labellum characteristics:
the labellum is lobed
Labellum length:
21–33 mm
Sepal length:
24–55 mm
Plant height:
12–64 cm
Show All Characteristics

Native to North America


North American Conservation Status & Distribution

Conservation Status

Select a location to view conservation status:

Conservation and Wetland Status
Global Rank Apparently Secure
US Status N/A
Canadian Status N/A

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data